From the CEO: Nursing needs more research grants. Sigma’s here to help!

Elizabeth A. Madigan | 01/03/2019

More funding for nursing research grants is critical, says Liz Madigan. She identifies four ways Sigma members and chapters can support that goal.

elizabeth madiganDuring my time as chief executive officer, members have told me that more funding for research grants is critical to advance our nurse scientists and their work. I could not agree more! While our small grants program is important for members who come from countries in which the government or foundations fund nursing research, these grants are even more important for members from countries where little or no funding is available for nursing research. For some nurse scientists, Sigma’s grant funding is the only way they receive financial support for their studies. For others, the money they receive from Sigma to fund a pilot, feasibility, or small-scale study provides evidence they need to secure larger funding in their country.

Regardless of country, relatively few organizations provide research funding to nurse scientists. Those that do are often nursing specialty organizations, such as the Oncology Nursing Society and the Emergency Nurses Association. Sigma’s research funding is different in that we review and fund grants that support the work of nurse scientists anywhere in the world who, using a variety of scientific approaches, research a wide range of populations. We’ve been doing this a long time. I’m told we were the first organization to fund nursing research—starting in 1936! Bottom line? Sigma’s research grant program is one of the most important things we do to support scholarship.

How can you help? For members and chapters, here are four ways to support this important function of our organization:

  1. Consider making a donation to the Sigma Foundation for Nursing Research Permanent Fund. We award more than $200,000 annually in research funds, but demand for funds always exceeds what we have.
  2. Encourage nurse scientists to apply for research grants. Our small grant program has broad eligibility criteria, and Sigma membership, while certainly encouraged, is not required. Some grants are targeted for nurse scientists in specific areas. For example, the Sigma/Alpha Eta Collaborative Research Grant targets new projects in Africa for members of Tau Lambda At-Large Chapter. Other grants are offered in conjunction with partner organizations such as the Oncology Nursing Society and the Canadian Foundation for Nursing.
  3. Become a collaborative funder. The foundation welcomes collaborative funders for new research grants. Contact Lynn Lambuth, foundation director, if you have questions. There are a number of ways to contribute to this important effort.
  4. Support research grants at the chapter level. We know you share our commitment to supporting nursing scholarship and greatly appreciate chapter support. If your chapter has ways to support research that have proven particularly successful, please share those ideas on The Circle via the Chapter Officers Work Group.

It truly takes a village—a nursing village—to support and expand nursing science and support our nurse scientists. Thanks for all you do! RNL

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Elizabeth "Liz" Madigan, PhD, RN, FAAN
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